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An engineering degree coupled with an MBA once held the promise of a high seat in the corporate world. But around the world, engineers have been pipped to the post by undergraduate business students wanting to pursue a higher management degree. What has come packaged in the irony of tough economic times is the fact that grants, fellowships and scholarships have declined, forcing students to pay the full price for courses.
This year, more than 2.1 lakh business students from around the world will be applying for an MBA as compared to 1.06 lakh engineers. But in India, little has changed as engineers continue to be the largest cohort of applicants for the MBA programme, distantly followed by those who studied commerce and business. The typical Indian MBA aspirant is a male in his mid or late 20s whose preferred destination is the US; what has changed is that fewer Indians, like most others, are depending on their personal savings for funding their MBA. The annual cruel college fee hikes usually come with the sweetened promise of an increase in grants and fellowships. Admission brochures, too, boast of the means-blind cachet. But students around the world have increasingly had to dig into their own resources to pay tuition, noted the 2012 Prospective Students Survey put together by the Graduate Management Admission Council that conducts the GMAT. Falling government funds, shrinking endowments and the dry patch in corporate research projects that are outsourced to campuses have forced several universities to turn down or waitlist students who are unable to pay the full fees, said experts. Grants, fellowships, scholarships and loans have declined globally, and these sources are now expected to make up less of the prospective students total financial package, the survey said. For instance, the percentage of prospective students who will rely on grants, fellowships, and scholarships fell from 64% in 2007 to 49% in 2011. The most common reservation to pursuing a graduate business degree has consistently been the belief that it requires more money than prospects have available, the survey said. In fact, several students, after their undergraduate degree, worked for close to five years to raise resources to fund their MBA.Closer home, fewer Indians are depending on fellowships and scholarships. Between 2009 and 2011, these numbers fell from close to 30% to 20%. In 2011, one out of every 11 Indian students said they would seek loans to fund their master’s education. Also, 37.6% of students would pay tuition out of their own savings, parental support and personal savings or spouses earnings; in 2009, 30% of students paid for tuitions out of their personal savings.Gender Profile:Men make up the majority: of prospective students for the two-year and one-year full-time, part-time and executive MBA, and the Master of Finance programmes Women, on the other hand, are candidates for the majority of those interested in flexible MBA and Masters of Accounting programmes. There is an equal gender split among those considering online/distance-learning MBA programmes.Studets Trends:Women (23%) are nearly twice as likely as men (13%) to consider only masters programmes Men (61%) are more likely than women (47%) to consider only MBA programmes Prospective students younger than 24 are more likely than older ones to consider only masters programmes. Those aged 25 or above are more likely than the youngest group to consider only MBA programmes.Course Choices:There is lower interest for MBA programmes: both two year and one-year full-time and part-time courses have seen the greatest decline. There is a slight reduction of candidates for flexible and executive MBA programmes; the number of candidates for online / distance learning programmes remain similar to before Master-level programmes in accounting and finance have witnessed increased student interest.
Courtesy: Times of India
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